As oil reserves in established basins become depleted, exploration and production moves towards relatively unexploited areas, such as deep waters off the continental shelf.
The Faroe-Shetland Channel (FSC, NE Atlantic) and adjacent areas have been subject to increased focus by the oil industry. In addition to extreme depths, metocean conditions in this region characterise an environment with high waves and strong winds, strong currents, complex circulation patterns, sharp density gradients, and large small- and mesoscale variability. These conditions pose operational challenges to oil spill response and question the suitability of current oil spill modelling frameworks (oil spill models and their forcing data) to adequately simulate the behaviour of a potential oil spill in the area.
This article reviews the state of knowledge relevant to deepwater oil spill modelling for the FSC area and identifies knowledge gaps and research priorities. Our analysis should be relevant to other areas of complex oceanography.